September 28, 2011 § 10 Comments
He would have to go back to the brown house with yellow shutters before too long. What would he tell Donna? He had no worthwhile excuse, no emergency, and no crisis to which he could attribute losing the money. The rent money. The grocery money. His gold wedding ring.
His eye was swollen shut now. He pressed a bag of frozen peas from Biselle’s freezer against it, trying to reduce it to nothing. Trying to freeze himself into infinity.
“Oh, George. It’s not all that bad, is it?” She tightened her silky bathroom around her as she entered the kitchen. The overhead light hummed miserably in conversation with the sporadic rattling of the fridge. The circular bulb illuminated the room just enough to make it look like a horror movie.
“Yes. It IS that bad.” She pushed him down into a chair in front of her. In one hand, a face cloth, in the other, peroxide.
“Sit.” She slowly and methodically cleaned out the cut on his forehead and his cheek. Reaching down, Biselle unbuttoned his shirt and slowly pulled it off. He winced as she revealed bruises over his ribs and a substantial cut on his back. “Sorry. How did this happen?”
“Same old sad story. Fuckers didn’t cover the spread.” A doorbell went off and she placed the peroxide on the table.
“Hold on, love. Let me get that.” Her slippers made predictable noises down the hallway. George heard mumbling by the front door. The sound of 2 chains and 3 locks being undone preceded the entrance of Smithers Forrest. “…I’m afraid you are stuck with Darla tonight.”
“I HEARD THAT!” A female voice, presumably belonging to Darla yelled down the stairs. Smithers followed Biselle to the kitchen and sat down. He wore a bow tie and a sweater vest. He looked like a Smithers with his bowler hat. Biselle put on the tea-pot before she returned to continue fixing George.
“Why George, what happened?” Smithers rested his hat on the table. The rickety kitchen chair creaked under his weight. George ignored him. He raised his body slightly off the chair to reach his beer on the far kitchen corner.
“Knicks missed the spread again.” Biselle said, as she had countless times since George became her customer.
“Betting on basketball is for suckers.” Smithers busted his balls as only men can do to each other.
“Fuck off, fucking fop.” George was in no mood.
“Whew, he does have himself in a SNIT, doesn’t he…” The tea kettle started to whistle. Smithers took off his shoes and socks. Biselle grabbed two mugs from the cabinet and put them on the table. The teabags joined the party. Smithers grabbed his accidentally placed in the moisture ring of George’s Michelob.
The stairs warned of approaching feet with ancient protests of wood and nail. A girl in jeans and a tight wife beater entered the kitchen. Her nipples were candy on display through the flimsy shirt. Bare feet spanked the floor. Darla’s toes were painted bright red. Around her ankle was jewelry which draped seductively down the front of her foot, a sole pearl kissing the first knuckle of the 2nd toe. Smithers visibly squirmed in his chair as soon as skin hit linoleum. George made a grossed out face and Biselle pinched him
“Why they beat you up? The money wasn’t enough? Why you betting more money than you have, eh?” Despite having been here for 15 years, Biselle sometimes slipped into her French accent. But George was reminded of the Korean lady at the Big Lucky Convenience Store. His mouth itched to tell her off, longed to take out his humiliation and shame on somebody. But it wouldn’t be Biselle. He came here twice a week, sometimes more. And she didn’t always charge him. She kept his beer brand in the fridge. They often sat and talked the talk of husband and wife, the talk he wished he had with Donna, who was so pretty and perfect. George was grateful for how unassuming Biselle was; no judgment. But then he supposed that’s why she was good at THIS.
Darla snickered at his silence. She extended a shapely arm to the bowl on the top of the fridge and pulled out a red Tootsie Roll pop. After peeling off the wrapper, she leaned against the wall. She watched Biselle firmly press on George’s wounds and sucked her pop. She caressed each leg with the opposite foot. Smithers was unconsciously dunking his tea bag in the now lukewarm water over and over as he pretended not to gawk at her feet.
Biselle didn’t expect him to answer. She delivered her message. She slipper slapped her way to the bathroom and returned a moment later with Band-Aids and butterfly stitches. Smithers put down his mug and daintily picked up his shoes. He had carefully folded his socks and placed one in each shoe.
“My dear, shall we?” He held out his bent arm in a gallant gesture and it was as if good ol’ Darla had just punched her time card. The smile came out and she linked her arm in his. She stroked his arm with her fingernails as they headed for the stairs. Laughter slid down the banister, mocking George.
Biselle was picking up scraps of paper from the bandages. He would have to go home to Donna soon.
“Perhaps, you got robbed, no?” His eyes jumped to hers and a slow smile spread over her face, slipping out of her eyes was a silk sexy version of her. Biselle sat back and pulled out a cigarette. “Wives are easy. No stitches needed. Most of the time.”
She was done fixing him up. She gazed out the back window and enjoyed her smoke.